Singapore stands on the cusp of half a century of existence, and it is an apt time to reflect on what it means to be a Singaporean.
Singapore has come a long way from a fishing village and can boast standards of living comparable with many major cities across the world.
We can boast of gross domestic product figures, healthcare facilities and airports that are the envy of nations.
However, this also means that Singaporeans also expect more now and are not afraid to speak up.
How do we take Singapore forward? That involves both citizens and the Government working together to make this a better place.
First, the foundation of a great country is its infrastructure. Transport must work, efficiently, all year round.
Then comes housing, food and health. We have to ensure that Singaporeans do not need to worry about affording these things.
Furthermore, it should not be the case that our homes become smaller, our rice bowl becomes tinier, and that as we age, we cannot afford our world-class healthcare.
It is also important to keep dialogue open and free. That means sharing views on issues like MRT breakdowns and being informed if there is any wrongdoing involved.
We also want to be able to live fulfilling lives - ones not defined by merely our jobs, but spent well with our families.
But what about the role of the citizen? As we seek to enjoy the fruits of our labour, we should also realise that, as we ask more of our nation, we should also consider how we can give back to it.
Here are some points to consider:
When we demand the best pay, we must also be the most productive, as we are surrounded by talented people who are more hungry.
When we want to speak our minds, we should remember that freedom of speech comes with a price, with consequences to our fellow citizens.
It is easy to criticise the Government or expect it to handle even the smallest matters, but are we willing to join in the fight to make Singapore a better place?
The peace we enjoy did not come easily, and we should appreciate the differences between fellow Singaporeans, both new and old, then strive to live in harmony.
Also, when we travel, and see nations with less, we should complain less, appreciate more; when we see nations with better standards of living, refinement and culture, we should strive to emulate and be even more competitive.
The world is constantly evolving and no one can afford to stand still. Let us all do our part to make this an even better nation.
Peter Loon Seng Chee